In his recent judgment in Meadows v La Tasca (2016), His Honour Judge Hodge QC has given guidance on how the Court should approach making findings of “fundamental dishonesty”. Successful defendants in personal injury claims may invite the Court to make a finding that a claim was fundamentally dishonest in order to remove the protections usually afforded to Claimants by “Qualified One-way Costs Shifting”.

The trial was heard by District Judge Khan, who rejected the Claimant’s claim on the basis that he had thought her evidence contained inconsistencies and then, considering the claim be a dishonest claim, ordered the Claimant to pay the Defendant’s costs.

The Claimant appealed the decision, noting that the Defendant had not previously pleaded allegations of fundamental dishonesty and so the Claimant had not been able to respond.  His Honour Judge Hodge QC upheld the appeal, agreeing that, on the evidence presented, the District Judge was not entitled to find that the case had been fabricated and thus conclude that it had been “fundamentally dishonest”.

His Honour Judge Hodge QC noted that “fundamental dishonesty” should go to the root of the matter, and is not collateral; dishonesty had to be differentiated to account for cases where it was not “fundamental”.